Add crunch to your meal

We Mainers love our coleslaw; Saturday night baked beans and hot biscuits with fresh and crunchy coleslaw. Traditional lobster feeds with a side of creamy coleslaw, corned-beef sandwiches bursting with slaw, even at barbecues and picnics, a bowl is always a welcome treat.

Originating from the Netherlands, koolsla, or cabbage salad, features crisp shredded green or purple cabbage with a mayonnaise or vinaigrette dressing. Shredded carrots, chopped celery, apple or pineapple chunks, savory onion, sweet red peppers, even bacon or ham can all be part of the mix. There are as many variations of recipes as there are cooks!

Cabbage, slaw’s primary ingredient, has sustained human populations for centuries. The first cabbages were brought to the United States by the French explorer Jacques Cartier on his ocean crossing in 1541-42.

An excellent source of vitamins K and C, cabbage is an especially important winter food, as the tightly packed heads with overlapping leaves grow better than lettuces in cold weather, and store extremely well in the root cellar.

An important food during the Dark Ages, cabbage salads were abundant in both peasant and affluent cuisines. Today, worldwide consumption of cabbage is about 6 pounds per person annually, with China producing almost half of the crop.

Most recipes for coleslaw use mayonnaise as a base for dressing. Other variations include buttermilk or a dressing laced with sugar. For those who don’t enjoy mayonnaise or sugary dressings, try the recipe for Coleslaw with Creamy Pickle Dressing.

Prepared in much the same manner as traditional slaw, Coleslaw with Creamy Pickle Dressing uses pickles, yogurt and olive oil instead of mayonnaise and sugar. What kind of pickles? Sweet bread and butter pickles, crunchy dill pickles, or mouth-puckering sour pickles and their juice are all delicious in this variation.

This salad recipe accommodates a wide variety of fresh vegetables, scales up easily to feed a crowd, travels simply to a potluck supper, and keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.

Coleslaw with Creamy Pickle Dressing
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Coleslaw with Creamy Pickle Dressing
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Print Recipe
  • 3 cups thinly shredded cabbage (combination of red and green is pretty)
  • 1 carrot, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup pickles and brine
  • 2 Tbsps. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ½ tsp. fresh pepper
  1. Assemble ingredients and tools. Shred the cabbage, grate the carrot and finely chop the onion. Add the prepared veggies to a large bowl.
  2. To prepare the dressing, add the pickles, yogurt, olive oil, sea salt and fresh pepper to the bowl of your food processor or blender. Process until well combined. (Or finely chop the pickles by hand and mix in a small bowl with the yogurt and olive oil.)
  3. Stir the dressing into the coleslaw. Season to taste with additional sea salt and fresh pepper if needed.
Recipe Notes

Nutritional analysis per serving: 133 calories, 1.5 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, 9 grams fat, 200 mg. sodium, 2 grams fiber.

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Cheryl Wixson
"Maine Dish" columnist Cheryl Wixson lives and cooks in Stonington. Her passion for organic Maine products led to the creation of her business, Cheryl Wixson's Kitchen. She welcomes food-related questions and comments at [email protected] or

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